Preserving religion in the campus : religious architecture in the modern American university, 1890-1955

Grubiak, Margaret Mary, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
Wilson, Richard Guy, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
Bluestone, Daniel, Unknown Registrar Dept Code-NoCode, University of Virginia
Nelson, Louis, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
Warren, Heather, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines the architecture of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Illinois Institute of Technology to uncover the place of religion in higher education in the first half of the twentieth century. Even as science and empirical knowledge gained ascendancy, university leaders and educators still believed it their duty to preserve the place of religion within the university mission. Following the "whole man" theory of education derived from Oxford and Cambridge universities, these educators employed architecture as part of a program to foster students' intellectual, social, and spiritual lives. In addition to building new libraries, laboratories, dormitories and dining halls, universities planned and constructed new chapels. These chapels advertised religion's importance especially as mandatory chapel policies came to an end, and their lavish interiors appealed to students' emotion to recapture interest in religion. Their location at the center of the campus and often opposite the library proclaimed religion's centrality in the university mission and asserted the importance of revealed knowledge in an environment focused on empirical knowledge. The University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning and Yale's Sterling Memorial Library appropriated religious imagery to sanctify the vocation of learning, bridging the divide between empirical and revealed knowledge. At I.I.T. and M.I.T., institutions devoted to the sciences, chapels constructed in the 1950s reminded students of the moral implications of science in the aftermath of World War II. This dissertation argues that the religious and apparently religious buildings on the university campus evince university leaders' strong desire to safeguard the cooperation between science and religion and ensure students' moral education. They capture profound changes in the modern American university as religious affiliations waned and as these institutions attempted to preserve religion's relevancy within higher education.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
religion, higher education, university mission

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-03-14 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:35:33.

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: